“Happy is a perception that, honestly, if you really want it, you can control it.”
What does happiness mean to you? Answering this question may be as intangible as actually achieving happiness. If you ask 100 people; you’ll likely get 100 different answers. And you might say there is no right or wrong answer.
As a motivational speaker, I have asked many people this question and I have received various responses like:
*“Happiness is having a roof over my head and food on the table.”
*“Spending time with my grandchildren.”
*“Achieving my goals in life.”
*“My family and friends.”
*”Making a lot of money.”
On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with these answers. However, when you set goals in order to achieve happiness, you will never get there. Once you achieve your goal and find that you are no happier, you will just set another goal and continue what I call the “I’ll be happy when” scenario. If you truly want happiness, you have to be happy while you are working to achieve those goals. In other words, you have to be happy in the moment.
To me, happiness is being mindful and thankful of the present moment. If we are constantly pursuing happiness, we will miss opportunities to just appreciate the here and now. If you really think about it, all we really ever have is the present moment. None of us have any idea what’s going to happen from one minute to the next. The only thing we know for sure is that we have right now. It’s the only thing in life that’s guaranteed.
The key, therefore, is not to wait until the next “thing” to be happy. If you wait for it, your wait will get longer and longer and you will ultimately end up frustrated and no happier than you were before.
Next week, I am excited to be teaching an online course for Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. entitled, “Rediscovering Happiness: Train Your Mind to Think Positive.” (For more information or to register for the course, please visit: http://www.edgarcayce.org/are/egroups.aspx?id=1441. Add “Happy$99” in the comments section of the registration form to receive a special $99 rate for the entire four-week course).
The four-week class (March 25 to April 21) will be divided into four topics:
- Week One: Acceptance
- Week Two: Appreciation
- Week Three: Forgiveness
- Week Four: Action
Acceptance is the most crucial step in positive thinking. Unless we truly accept what is, we will never be able to appreciate it. And unless we appreciate what is, we will never truly experience the moment.
A recent study found that people spend almost half their time (46.7%) thinking about something other than what they are really doing. They concluded that people were less happy when they were not focused on the moment.
Most of us go from one day to next without ever noticing the beauty around us. The reason is simple: we can’t appreciate something without giving it our attention. We are so focused on what happened in the past or what we think is going to happen in the future that we lose the now.
The Dalai Lama tells us that happiness is our life’s purpose. Why then do so many spend a lifetime missing the mark? Part of the reason is we rely on other things and people to make us happy. We place the responsibility for our happiness in someone else’s hands or we play the blame game when things go wrong. But the truth is the only person who can make you happy is you.
I know I’ve said this probably 100 times in my previous blogs but happiness is not determined by outside circumstances or things. You might think that a nice shiny, new car will make you happy but things don’t make you happy; they bring you pleasure. There’s a difference.
Happiness comes from within and can only be experienced when you truly appreciate and understand the value of the present moment. Only then will you understand that you already have everything that you need to be happy. Happiness is your choice; no matter what the circumstances. It’s a state of being.
I can hear many of you out there now saying, “But I don’t have a job. My child is sick. My husband cheated on me. My best friend hurt me, etc.” Yes, these things are tough. But they don’t bring us unhappiness; we do by choosing our reaction.
My mother once told me about a friend of hers whose daughter was dying of cancer. (We’ll call her Kathy). Kathy was a young mother of three. Despite her condition, she insisted on getting on a plane to visit her parents in Florida and while there took a turn for the worse.
As a result, her trip to her parent’s house was to be her last and family and friends came to say their goodbyes. As my mother told me about this young mother, I was moved to tears. Knowing that her time here on this earth was coming to an end, Kathy refused to waste one moment. Instead she spent her last days with a smile on her face and was grateful for every second she spent with her family and friends. She took the time to appreciate and value each moment.
“She always had a smile on her face,” my mother told me. “She always seemed happy up until the end. And that’s how I will always remember seeing her…with a smile on her face.” Unfortunately, too many of us don’t appreciate the value of the moment until we don’t have it anymore. We don’t understand what we had until it’s too late.
There is no fancy secret to happiness. Again, no matter what the circumstances, happiness is a state of mind always within reach. You need only live it.